Rye Flour….don't ask me why I have so much of it, but along with scarlet runner beans and dried chilies, I turned up a couple bags of the stuff when organizing my pantry a few weeks back. I'm sure there are lots of cool things to do with rye flour (please chime in if you happen to know what they are), but all I could think to do was to make some bread.
As luck would have it, Sara Kate Gillingham over at The Kitchn recently posted this recipe, and as I'm a total junky for a good piece of toast in the morning, this loaf was a no-brainer as my first salvo in the battle to use up all of my @#$%&* rye flour. Her recipe calls for pepitas and cried cherries neither of which I had, so I used dried cranberries and chopped pecans instead….still YUM!
Rye makes a densely crumbed bread on a good day, but mine ended up pushing the density envelope as it struggled to rise at all after it was formed. It could be that my yeast was a little long in the tooth, or more likely that my kitchen was a bit chilly the day I made the bread and the cool temperature hampered the rise. Either way, the loaf (while as dense as a decades old fruit cake) turned out delicious and is indeed a formidable toasting bread. Serve it up slathered with plenty of salted butter to start your day off on the right foot.
Cheers – Steve
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 1/4-ounce package) active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (110°F)
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut
- 1 3/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) rye flour, divided
- 1 1/4 cups (5 1/2 ounces) bread flour
- 3/4 cup (3 1/4 ounces) whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm (110°F) water. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes. In another small bowl, combine the warm milk and molasses. In another small bowl, combine the cherries, pumpkin seeds and coconut. Pour over enough water to barely cover.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the rye flour (reserving 1/4 cup), bread flour, wheat flour, salt and ground caraway seeds. Pour in the milk-molasses mixture and the yeast mixture, and stir until just combined.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic — about 5 minutes. As you knead, add enough of the remaining rye flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands. This dough will be more sticky than a non-rye dough, however. Do not let it get too dry.
- Drain the fruit mixture and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Knead it into the bread dough until well-distributed.
- Form the dough into a ball and place the dough in a large greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Punch the dough down; cover and let rest for 10 more minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Score the top with a sharp knife. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let rest another 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 375°F. When the bread has rested, bake for about 45 minutes or until hollow-sounding when tapped on the underside. Cool on a wire rack. Serve sliced very thin and toasted.